Asian- influenced stir-frys are a fabulous, fast way to use up veggies loitering in your fridge. You can use almost any combination successfully. I love peppers, squash, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, asparagus and snap peas. Tomatoes don't hold up too well, and potatoes won't get cooked through, but other than that, almost any veggie will work. It's good to always have at least one "oniony" component: leeks, scallions, onions and/or garlic.
You can add meat or keep it veggie-centric. And if you keep just a few basic guidelines in mind, it's hard to make a mistake.
First, cut all your veggies about the same size, preferably small, so they cook quick and get done at the same time. The exceptions would be cabbage or other greens. They'll cook a bit quicker, and you usually want to add them toward the end of your cooking time.
Second, whip up a sauce. You can buy pre-packaged stir-fry sauces or mixes, but they are usually full of added sodium, dyes and other unnecessary ingredients. And they cost more than creating your own.
The options here are endless, but I try to always have some combination of these flavors: salt, sweet, heat and acid.
For stir-frys, my go-to "salt" is tamari, Japanese soy sauce that's gluten-free. For sweet, consider honey or brown sugar. For heat, use fresh chilies or dried pepper flakes. For acid, lime juice or rice wine vinegar. If you want a thick and creamy sauce, think unsweetened coconut milk or natural peanut butter. Spice and herb additions like ginger and fresh cilantro or basil are nice, but not required.
Same goes for crunch. Feel fee to throw some unsalted peanuts or sliced radishes on top of each serving.
Here's a recent stirfry I made to take advantage of my recent CSA goodies from the E.A.T. South farm.
- 1 large chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces or small strips
- 2 to 3 tablespoons green garlic, rough chopped
- 5 scallions, sliced into 3-inch pieces
- 2 small or 1 large sweet peppers, sliced into 3-inch slices about the same thickness as the scallions
- 2 cups of bok choy, chopped into thin ribbons
- 1 to 2 small radishes, chopped fine (for garnish)
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons of tamari or regular soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce (found in the Asian aisle at your grocery store)
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried, ground ginger or 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- pinch red chili flakes
Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, mix well and set aside.
Heat vegetable or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chicken. Cook until almost cooked through, about four minutes, and use a slotted spoon to move the chicken to a plate. Add the green garlic to the oil. Cook, stirring constantly until the garlic just begins to brown on the edges, about one minute. Add the scallions and peppers and cook three to four minutes more (depending on how much crunch you want left in your veggies). Add the bok choy and cook until it wilts and begins to soften, about four minutes. Add the chicken back to the skillet and turn down the heat to medium low. Add the sauce and stir to coat the chicken and veggies. Cook a few minutes more, until the sauce is warmed through. Serve over rice noodles or rice and top with chopped radishes.